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Go Get Your Blockchain MBA So You Can Get Laid Off From A Crypto I-Bank Instead Of A Real One

It's the most prudent career move.
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By Mike Cauldwell ( [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By Mike Cauldwell [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

A big question on the mind of a lot of professional and not-so-professional investors these days is whether to swallow some pride/dignity/alcohol and take the plunge into Cryptostan. Even for the most retail of retail investors, putting a few hundred bucks on bitcoin can feel like a difficult-to-justify risk. That goes double for hedge funders and other money managers feeling the crypto itch.

But those risks are peanuts compared to this guy's:

"We've got a lot of people who came from traditional finance backgrounds that are forgoing the chance to go back into that world to get involved in blockchain," [Robbie] Mitchnick, a MBA candidate at Stanford's Graduate School of Business, told CNBC. Following graduation next spring, Mitchnick, who previously interned at the payments network Ripple, hopes to find work making cryptocurrencies more accessible to a mainstream audience.

Mitchnick is just one of many business school students who, we're told, are waving goodbye to the joys and terrors of a Wall Street internship and hitching their wagon to the blockchain. Harvard students have formed a Cryptocurrency Club. Stanford will be offering its first blockchain courses starting in spring. Forget Brooks Brothers and manhattans, the new MBA style is hoodies and acid-microdosed Soylent.

It's clear why an ambitious young MBA striver would be wise to take that Stanford class or attend a couple Crypto geek meetings. Whatever its destiny, blockchain will have a place in the financial word to come. But wagering your whole future career on the prospect of an economy chock with crypto opportunities is a risk that makes some midlevel hedgie's low-key ethereum position look like a slam-dunk.

This mini-trend is of a piece with the oft-discussed notion that the bitcoin diehard's position is a binary bet: either bitcoin and the blockchain remake the world, or the current ICO/crypto bubble comes crashing down hard and fast. Likewise, MBA students getting in on blockchain's ground floor right now will either find themselves sitting on top of the world once bitcoin is king, or crushed under a crypto collapse.

But that's not to say there aren't opportunities right at this very moment to get hired to do bitcoin banking. The only drawback is that you might just end up experiencing what has become a fine tradition on Wall Street: layoffs:

The largest investment bank catering to the red-hot cryptocurrency sector was in total disarray on Friday after management fired nine employees — including the entire tech team, The Post has learned.

That might sound like small beans, but this is the Argon Group, not Deutsche Bank. The numbers here are smaller in absolute terms, but much larger on a relative basis:

The firings, which began around 4 a.m. on the day before Thanksgiving, amount to one-third Argon’s payroll, sources said, leaving the future of the Beverly Hills company very much up in the air.

So maybe the crypto finance world isn't so far behind its legacy peers after all. They've already gotten to mass layoffs, at least.

Students at elite business schools bypass Wall Street for blockchain [CNBC]
Mass firings at top digital currency investment bank [NYPost]



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